The New York Giants have moved back under .500 after Thursday night’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers in one of the greatest NFL rivalries ever, despite their star running back Saquon Barkley being sidelined with a high ankle sprain.
Niners wideout Deebo Samuel got his first touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter when quarterback Brock Purdy threw a 27-yard pass to him with 5:58 to play, increasing the score to 30-12 for San Francisco.
Purdy, the final pick of last year’s draft, also known as “Mr. Irrelevant,” continued his excellence from last year into the new season, when he completed 25 of 37 dimes for 310 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Niners RB Christian McCaffrey scored a touchdown in his 12th straight game to help San Francisco extend its regular-season winning streak to 13 games.
The 49ers weren’t particularly sharp on offense in their home opener, but got enough from McCaffrey and big runs on catches from Samuel and George Kittle to get their second 3-0 start in 25 seasons.
Niners QB Brock Purdy (L) continues to defy his critics with another win this season
Purdy, 23, completed 25 of 37 dimes for 310 passing yards and two touchdowns on Thursday
Deebo Samuel scored the final touchdown for the 49ers with 5:58 to play in the fourth quarter
Purdy and Co. are celebrating after extending San Fran’s regular-season winning streak to 13 games
The defense did the rest against the short-handed Giants (1-2), who trailed by double digits at halftime for the third time in three games this season.
With the running game hampered by Barkley’s absence and the offensive line outmatched without left tackle Andrew Thomas and left guard Ben Bredeson, the Giants struggled to move the ball and ended up with 150 yards of offense.
They made two field goals in the first half and scored on Matt Breida’s 8-yard run during a third-quarter drive that needed just 15 yards thanks to two penalties against the Niners.
Daniel Jones was often on the run and couldn’t get anything going. He went 22 for 32 for 137 yards and an interception.
Purdy threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie Ronnie Bell in the first half before assisting Samuel for a late fourth-quarter touchdown to improve to 8–0 as a regular-season starter.
But he also avoided several potential turnovers and had much of his production coming off short passes, which his receivers turned into long gains.
Injured Giants running back Saquon Barkley was there to support his teammates in Santa Clara
Giants QB Daniel Jones was often on the run, going 22 of 32 for 137 yards and an interception
McCaffrey ran for 85 yards, added another 34 and scored on a 4-yard run to make it 17-3 late in the second quarter. That tied Jerry Rice’s franchise record of 12 straight regular-season or playoff games with a TD and is three short of the NFL mark.
The Giants found themselves in a big hole again at halftime, trailing 17-6. It was an improvement from the first two weeks, when they trailed Dallas 26-0 in the opener and Arizona 20-0 in Week 2. They rallied to beat the Cardinals with a strong second half.
New York also fell behind 28-0 in a playoff loss to the Eagles last season, marking the first time since 2003-04 that they trailed by double digits after halftime in four straight games.
There was a small scuffle late in the first half as the Niners tried to take a knee to run out the clock. San Francisco left tackle Trent Williams took offense when New York’s A’Shawn Robinson shoved Aaron Banks and Williams shoved him with both hands. Robinson appeared to throw a jab at Williams, who then responded with a punch to the face mask.
Compensatory penalties were taken and referee Shaun Hochuli had to prevent players from both teams from running to the locker room to play one more time.
The Giants will now turn their attention to hosting Seattle on Monday, October 2, while the 49ers will take on Arizona in front of their own fans on Sunday, October 1.